Many designers want to begin their careers creating gift baskets with items that either are not appropriate for people who will buy or untested in the gift basket marketplace. I was one of those designers.
Large, plastic tooth molds and miniature fish tanks were two containers I believed would be popular. I conducted no research for these conclusions. Thank goodness neither were available for purchase. Instead, I settled down and focused on containers and designs that appealed to customers and sold quickly.
Concentrate on making designs trimmed with elegant enhancements that can be changed according to the theme. Then listen closely to what customers say and even more closely to what they don’t say to amaze them every time.
That’s what works overall. Perhaps this lesson is key to selling more of your designs.
Here are three more tips to make your cash register ring often.
1. Build up, not out. Tall designs sell quicker than wide ones. Elaine Essary’s gift basket, featured in The Gift Basket Design Book, is one example.
2. Get a sale, make a sale. Ask the customer for referral business, which may be found in his office building (other businesses, tenants, etc.) or as part of his professional organization (attorney, accountant, real estate groups, etc.).
3. Market, market everywhere. Mention the benefits of giving gift baskets to your bank’s manager, insurance agent, and other independent professionals with whom you know. Isn’t it time to recoup your money and help them build their businesses at the same time?
YOUR SUMMER SURVIVAL GUIDE
July and August are two months with notorious reputations for slow sales, but that’s not true for designers who’ve prepared a number of promotions that turn the tide from slow to super. Wednesday’s newsletter explains why it’s not too late to increase your sales right now. Try one of the options next week.
COVER YOUR ASSETS
I operated my gift basket business without insurance the first year I started designing. Then I read how someone working in another industry might lose their personal possessions because they were uninsured. Are you also working without a net? Learn more here about business insurance and how protect what your own.
HOW TO TARGET YOUR MARKET
Who is your customer? What are their traits, and how do you find them? Here’s one definition of target market, and this quick article shares information I cover in my PR and marketing seminar, which I’ll share in detail next weekend at the Orlando Gift Show.
How many sales can you generate in July and August by offering customers a few perks that will easily accommodate them while adding to your bottom line? Here are two ideas.
Declare July as Tax Free Month. For every order, customers will not have to pay tax on their purchases. This is a promotion that will not only draw new customers to buy from you but also encourage past clients to place orders.
Consider this: would you rather pay $3 (based on 6 percent tax) on a $50 gift, or would you rather not get the sale? An additional 10 sales at $50 per transaction during July is $500 for which, at an average 6% sales tax, you will pay $30 to your state taxation department. But don’t stop at 10 extra sales. Create a strategy and try to top your own estimates.
Give everyone whose birthday occurs in July and August either a discount or free gift with purchase. If you have captured each customer’s birth month in your database, promoting this event specifically to them will be easier.
Take this promotion one step further by sending postcards to all customers stating that not only will those with July and August birthdays be eligible for the promotion, anyone who orders a birthday gift during these two months receives the same discount or free gift. It’s an offer that just might sway customers to buy during the summer months.
That’s two ways to raise revenue during a time often viewed as slow for sales, and you’ll find more ideas in 101 Ways to Market Gift Baskets.
FROM CHAOS TO CALM
There are certain expectations when you begin making gift baskets. First, you wonder if you’ll get sales, and when they arrive, you wonder how to organize everything, including travel. Wednesday’s newsletter provides trade show alternatives when you cannot travel, which includes magazines to get this month to read gift basket articles.
WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?
Learning about the receiver, before you begin designing, ensures that the gift basket matches their preferences. What do you ask, and are the questions organized on paper rather than by memory? Here’s what I asked a client before dazzling 25 members of her day care staff.
HOW TO PRINT UP SALES
What type of ribbon imprinter is in your workspace, and can it do more than imprint on ribbon? One designer is searching for a special imprinter to satisfy her clients with different types of personalization. Her question is at Ask The Gift Basket Expert. Can you help her?
Managing your time while marketing, selling, and attending trade shows is often a difficult process, but there are alternatives to keep order and sanity.
Rather than attend trade shows, some gift basket designers choose to stay close to their stores due to time or budgetary constraints. This dilemma can leave a big void in the items offered to customers who count on you to surprise them with every order.
But how can you take time away from business to visit trade shows when the ones you really want to attend are thousands of miles away? Here are two solutions.
1. Speak with suppliers. Call wholesalers that plan to exhibit. Ask the representative if you can take advantage of specials through a phone order. New items are usually shown online, and the rep may have approval to give you a “heads up” on sales specials.
2. Re-review trade publications. Gift and gourmet trade magazines often feature new items for each season, introducing you to what will be in style in terms of colors and trends.
The July issues of Gifts & Decorative Accessories and Gift Shop Magazine include gift basket articles. Try and get a copy of both before month’s end.
Don’t let schedule, location, or budget keep you from finding new products to refresh designs. Your customers are counting on you be their premier, trend-setting gift consultant.
Gift Basket Wholesale Supplies lists wholesalers and distributors in state order and throughout Canada. It’s a resource that may be beneficial if you absolutely cannot get to a show.